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Geisha Culture and Arts for Use at

Amatsu Okiya in Second Life

In Praise of Japan

"The land of Yamato

Has mountains in numbers

But peerless among them

Is high Kaguyama.

I stand on its summit

My kingdom to view.

The smoke from the land-plain

Thick rises in air,

The gulls from the sea-plain

By fits soar aloft.

O land of Yamato!

Fair Akitsushima!

Dear art thou to me!"

from A History of Japanese Literature, by W.G. Aston, William Heineman, London

Maiko 4: Literature

A study of Japanese literature must include historical reference in order to understand the beginnings of the language and circumstances that shaped the earliest forms of the written language.

The purpose of this lesson is to develop an appreciation of the Japanese cultural foundations in the written word, obtain a frame of reference for understanding the impacts upon Japan from other countries and to take some time to read one of the best appreciated and early novels of Japan.

Why this for training as a geisha? Geisha were well-read in terms of the news of the day yes, but they also had a well-rounded knowledge of all the arts. Painting with words - authorship - was not a stranger to the eyes of the Geisha.

Literature Links


  1. Read each one of the pages above in the literature links
  2. Complete the Maiko Literature Quiz
  3. For extra study you may read the Tale of Genji (this can be the condensed version found in our library). Though this is not a requirement, it is enlightening and gives a glimpse into Japanese court life at the time of the writing.
  4. When you have done all of the above - write a short note card to say that you have completed this lesson and one thing you learned that impressed you. - Send completed card to Okaasan/Oneesan. 

Helps for Tale of Genji

Japanese Literature Links

Book References

  • F. Hadland Davis, 1992, Myths and Legends of Japan, Dover Publishing
  • ISBN 13:978-0-486-27045-6
  • Japanese Tales, 1987, edited and translated by Royall tyler, Pantheon Fairy Tale and folklore Library
  • ISBN 0-375-71451-0

Haiku sites

Please ask for permission

before proceeding to the next lesson.

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